Being able to read relies on your child acquiring a number of different skills, which they’ll be taught at nursery and school. It usually starts with learning phonemes or sounds and linking these to letters. It’s never too early to start the process and gradually introduce your child to reading. Here a nursery in Surrey provides some tips on how you can support your child’s reading journey.
Read to your child
Reading to your child regularly will introduce them to a range of different sounds and vocabulary, which is a key first step on their reading journey. You could read them a bedtime story at night and encourage them to follow the words on the page as you say them. This will help start the process of them linking sounds to written words. Sound out the words phonetically as you read them and see if your child can copy you. Ask them questions as you read. All of this will help give them a good head start, as well as instilling in them a love of reading.
You could encourage your child to read out sight words (i.e. words that can’t be sounded out) by playing games and using songs which incorporate the words, perhaps taking it in turns to say them. Make use of technology and search for games your child can play on a tablet to teach them phonics or look for educational TV programmes your child can watch. If they are entertained and stimulated, it’s more likely your child will absorb and retain phonic knowledge.
Make use of images
A visual representation of words they are learning will help children recognise them. Put up pictures around the house of objects or animals with the corresponding word written down next to them. Every now and then encourage your child to look at the picture and the word and say the word out loud. This helps children link the word and the image. Images are often more interesting to children, so making use of them as much as possible to accompany words and sentences will help your child retain what they have learnt.
You can start the process of teaching your child to read at any age. Starting early will lay the groundwork for when they start school. The most important thing though is to make sure they’re having fun in the process.